Navistar will lay off more than 80 workers at its Ohio Truck Specialty Center in Springfield beginning in early August, according to a notice the truck manufacturer filed with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The layoffs are part of a plan to restructure the local workforce as the company ramps up hiring for a joint agreement with GM to build medium-duty trucks in Springfield, company officials said. The joint agreement included plans to create about 300 jobs, with Navistar beginning production of the medium-duty trucks at the Springfield plant next year.
Navistar is one of Clark County’s largest employers, where it employs more than 1,500 workers. Thousands of retirees also remain in the area.
Of the 81 workers being laid off, 78 are journeyman mechanics with the company. The remaining positions affected include one temporary full-time contractor and two Truck Specialty Center clerks.
The move will allow Navistar to move work that was being done at its Truck Specialty Center back into the company’s main Springfield facility, said Lyndi McMillan, a spokeswoman for Navistar.
The manufacturer also began production earlier this year on a cutaway model of GM’s G Van as part of a separate joint agreement. The two separate agreements with GM are expected to create a total of about 600 new jobs in Springfield, McMillan said.
The workers being laid off will be able to apply for available positions in the main facility as Navistar ramps up hiring to begin production on the medium-duty trucks. However it’s not guaranteed they will all be hired at the main facility, she said.
The notice, which was posted online Monday, indicated Navistar will permanently lay off 81 members of its United Auto Workers Local 402 and 684 unions. The affected workers aren’t covered under the main labor agreement with the UAW, and therefore don’t have transfer rights, McMillan said. That means they will need to reapply for other positions available at the main facility.
The company reported a net loss of $62 million for the first quarter this year, citing continuing weak demand in the heavy truck industry. However company leaders also said they expected the market to rebound later this year. Navistar’s expected to post its second quarter results later this week.
Of the mechanics, 36 of them will be let go during a 14-day period beginning on Aug. 1, according to the notice filed with the state. An additional 25 mechanics and one temporary full-time contractor will be laid off over a 14-day period beginning on Sept. 1.
The company’s notice said 17 more journeyman mechanics and two Truck Specialty Center clerks will be permanently laid off over a 14-day period beginning on Sept. 29.
Jason Barlow, president of the UAW Local 402, described the move as a business decision for the company.
He said the 78 mechanics will be offered employment at the Springfield assembly plant as jobs become available.
Barlow also said those workers will retain recall rights to the TSC mechanics unit and can return to the TSC if new work picks up in that unit.
Marcia Flax, president of the UAW Local 658, didn’t return a call seeking comment.
Navistar filed the notice as part of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires employers to give officials notice of pending mass layoffs. No further information was included in the company’s notice.
Amy Donahoe, director of hiring and employer services for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, said she was notified about the layoffs Monday but was unable to provide further information. She said local workforce development officials will deploy a rapid response team to provide information about unemployment compensation and other assistance for the impacted workers.
By the numbers
81: Navistar workers to be laid off from the Springfield plant in August and September
1,500: Total workers at Navistar’s Springfield plant
600: New jobs Navistar will add in Springfield as part of two agreements to build vehicles with GM
The Springfield News-Sun provides award-winning coverage of Navistar, including stories digging into its troubled engine technology and efforts to rebound and add jobs.